The end of the financial year is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to start thinking about your tax return. If you want to get the most out of your tax return, it’s important to start preparing ahead of time and not leave it till the deadline of June 30.
With inflation increasing the cost of living and adding pressure to household budgets, it’s best to strategise and be informed on how you can earn some extra dollars.
1. Keep track of your expenses and gather receipts
The first basic step to maximising your tax return is keeping track of all your expenses throughout the year. This should include work-related and personal expenses to ensure you are claiming all the deductions you are entitled to.
The next step, which is intertwined with the essence of tracking, is gathering and organising all your receipts. If your claimed expense on any one item exceeds $300, then this requires a receipt/documentation to support the claim.
Keeping receipts safe to get return on big-ticket items is a must, therefore it should be considered to scan or photograph your receipts for safety.
2. Covid tests could be a deduction
Most people won’t be aware of all the changes in tax laws, and this is a perfect example of the scenario.
According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), taxpayers who have paid for a Covid-19 test for work-related purposes can now claim the cost as a tax deduction. This will be enacted from July 1 and is currently exclusive for people who have been forced to buy Covid-19 tests to determine if they can remain at work.
3. Find a registered tax agent
Around 70 percent of Australians use a tax agent to lodge their claims as opposed to doing it themselves on myGov or myTax.
The reasoning for this is simple and relates to the tip mentioned above. Not everyone is aware of the potential returns they can receive, and this can be easily solved by hiring an expert.
The best part is that accounting and tax agent fees are also tax deductible. The ATO states that any expenses incurred as a result of managing taxes through an agent can be claimed as a deduction.
This process can be fast tracked if your tax agent expedites the claim, which means finding a reliable agent and sticking to them can become very lucrative. If the claim is not expedited then it can be claimed in the following year.
4. Determine your tax bracket
Tax brackets don’t remain the same every year.
Reviewing your tax bracket (individual and married income tax rates) from the ATO will give you a clearer indication of your obligations and maximal return potential.
5. Work from home claims
As of 2022, the ATO is expecting work from home claims to reach an extremely large amount.
The ATO has stressed that to be eligible for work from home claims, you must be working from home to completely fulfil employment duties and not just carrying out minimal tasks.
The list of things you can claim deductions on includes:
- Electricity expenses for heating, cooling and lighting
- Internet expense
- Phone expense
- Decline in value of office furniture and furnishing
- Decline in value of office equipment; e.g. laptop, stationery, paper etc. (if bought by yourself for work with no reimbursement)
These will also require records for proof.
6. Returns on books, journals and online subscriptions
If you have a subscription to an online or offline publication (e.g. magazine or online news publishers) to directly help you with your line of work, then a claim can be made.
A direct link between the subscription and how it assists you with work needs to be shown, but this is straight forward to demonstrate. For example, a journalist subscribing to an online news site would easily pass the eligibility test.
The same process also applies to educational courses if it relates to your job.
7. A good deed rewarded with another
This one always slides under the radar, however it should be known that you can get money back on donations.
Donations where you put money into a box or bucket can be claimed for up to $10. This does not require proof during tax time, however other donations which are sent to an organisation have a separate criterion:
- If the donation is a gift, it must be at least more than $2 in value
- Requires proof of contribution, such as a receipt
- The donation should not profit the donator in any form
- The donation should be voluntary
8. Work related travel
Unfortunately, the cost of travelling between work and home cannot be claimed, but this doesn’t mean there is zero compensation for work travel.
Travelling between work sites, such as from one office to another branch office, is included in tax deduction. The same applies for travelling to visit a client and if you happen to have two jobs, then travel between each one is usually eligible for tax claims.
Tracking this can be slightly difficult if driving by car, however this can be solved by using apps which allow you to log trips and measure distance